Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - RPI Forms.

8.

asked the Minister for Labour the number of RPI forms that have been returned to his Department in respect of employees made redundant by a firm (details supplied), the number of forms estimated to be still outstanding; and the steps he will take to ensure that the outstanding forms are returned.

My Department have not received any notice of redundancy on forms RPI from the company concerned.

There is a dispute in this case as to whether the employees are on "lay-off" or "redundant" as defined in the Redundancy Payments Acts. In this situation the proper course of action is for the employees to appeal to the Employment Appeals Tribunal to establish their entitlements under the Redundancy Payments Acts. I understand that 172 of the company's employees have appealed to the tribunal. The tribunal has indicated that it should be possible to list these appeals for hearing within a month.

Fifty of the employees have served notices on the company concerned claiming redundancy on the basis that they have been laid off. The company has not opposed these notices and has paid the employees concerned their statutory redundancy entitlements.

Is the Minister aware that the IDA have some involvement with Snia in Sligo? My understanding was that the company would ask their creditors to forego their claims on the assets of the company and that the money thus saved would be used to pay redundancy to the employees. Has the Minister any information as to whether Snia have done that? What part are the IDA playing, either in trying to salvage the company or assist them in getting redundancy payments made to the employees?

I have not that information to hand.

I appreciate that the IDA are outside the Minister's remit. I take it he is aware that the company are supposed to inform employees two weeks prior to their being made redundant. The company has been closed for more than two years. There is supposed to be a penalty of £300 imposed on a company who fail to supply the RPI forms. Are the Department pursuing the company to ensure that employees are not losing out as a result of what appears to be fairly underhand treatment of the workers in this situation?

The situation is complex. With regard to the IDA, I do not have information regarding what action they might take. I am aware that the company wrote to the Department in October 1983 stating, as they were required to do under the Protection of Employment Act, 1977, that they intended to cease operations and to make the employees redundant. The matter has been subject to discussion and negotiation between representatives of the company and the employees' trade union, the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union.